The purpose of this paper is to provide a means by which social studies instructors may use the film “Gran Torino” to explore a number of themes related to globalization and multiculturalism, the complexity and interconnectedness of which is often difficult for high school students to understand. “Gran Torino,” directed by Clint Eastwood, raises a number of issues, including ethnic relations, immigration, economic changes in America, life in urban America, the recourse to individual violence and conflict resolution. It is in this confluence of relations, the global and the local, that Gran Torino lends itself so well for further exploration. We will begin by briefly introducing the challenges facing today’s youth, proceed to an apologetic for using film in the classroom and then focus, because of page constraints herein, to three thematic areas that might be explored in a social studies curriculum by using the film “Gran Torino.”
This article serves as a guide for using the film “Avatar” in education. It is designed to help students explore topics related to global citizenship.